Death Cab for Cutie are back! They've announced a new album Asphalt Meadows, the follow-up to 2018's Thank You for Today, that's out September 16. The record's lead single "Roman Candles," which was produced by John Congleton, is as short and explosive as the title suggests. Frontman Ben Gibbard explained that the single is “about the crippling, existential dread that goes hand in hand with living in a nervous city on a dying planet. And that the only way to be in the moment is to let it all go.”
Since March 2020, time has felt more confusing, frustrating, and elusive than ever. The lyrics of "Roman Candles" capture that infuriating sensation akin to grasping at running water. "It’s been a battle just to wake and greet the day / Then they all disappear like sugar in my coffee," Gibbard sings on the opening verse. The following line hints that not everything has been bad, but any sense of good has been smothered. "A hint of sweetness, but the bitterness remains / The acidity devouring my body."
“The lyrics were cobbled from a couple of different songs dealing with my general sense of anxiety," Gibbard added. "The feeling that the fabric that weaves a functioning society together was crumbling during the pandemic.” The track touches on how a volatile world has led to an emotional drought—when everything requires an explosive reaction, but there's no ammo left to detonate. As one might say, humans adapt. "But I am learning to let go / Of everything I tried to hold / Too long ‘cause they all explode like roman candles," goes the chorus. Toward the track's end, Gibbard repeats these words a couple times before drums come bubbling in and we're left with an eruptive end.
Watch the lyric video below, and pre-order Asphalt Meadows here.